Appealing Financial Aid for Special Circumstances

Some students and families experience financial situations that are not reflected on the FAFSA. Circumstances that impact the family’s ability to pay for college may possibly be reviewed in the Special Circumstance Appeal process. If your situation meets the criteria below, contact Marquette Central to discuss your situation and obtain the documents required for the appeal. 

PLEASE NOTE: Appeal requests will not be processed until the student receives their initial financial aid offer. Not all appeals will result in an increase in financial aid. A reduction in the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) on the FAFSA does not guarantee an increase in aid. 

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Students and families facing significant financial hardship may be eligible for additional financial aid through the Special Circumstance Appeal process. The student must have the correct year FAFSA on file with Marquette to be eligible to request a special circumstance review. Based on the timing of the circumstance we may be able to review this appeal for the current year or it may be reviewed for the upcoming year.  

Circumstances that can be considered include: 

  • Job loss or reduction in income, must wait a minimum of 8 weeks after the loss/change before we can review the appeal 
  • Job loss or reduction in income due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Change in marital status after the FAFSA was filed 
  • Change in health requiring reduced hours at work or going on disability 
  • High unreimbursed paid medical and or dental expenses 
  • Private elementary, middle, or high school tuition for siblings of the student 
  • One-time income, such as a withdrawal from a retirement account to pay bills 
  • Non-Deferrable educational expenses, paid Parent PLUS loans or the parent’s own educational loans 
  • Extraordinary expenses, such as legal fees or funeral expenses 

Increases to Cost of Attendance: 

Students can request an increase to their cost of attendance if they find that they have unusual expenses which exceed the budgeted amount. This can include but is not limited to purchasing a new computer, food expenses for those with special dietary needs, dependent care expenses, housing expenses higher than budgeted amount due to medical or other extraordinary reasons. We will require documentation showing why this expense needs to be higher than the budgeted amount for the request to be considered.   

 Dependency Status 

If you are a dependent student on your FAFSA but you feel that you have extenuating circumstances that you believe should be considered in determining your dependency status, please contact Marquette Central 

Note: Dependency status cannot be changed because you live on your own and support yourself, there must be additional factors for us to consider.  



Not every situation can be reviewed for a special circumstance appeal. Some circumstances are already included in the EFC calculation on the FAFSA and some circumstance cannot be reviewed due to policy.

What cannot be considered: 

  • High Consumer debt (credit card, car payments, etc.) 
  • Vacation homes 
  • Unpaid medical bills 
  • Other dependents in college, this is already included on the FAFSA 
  • Parents separated but still living in the same house 
  • Assets reported on the FAFSA cannot be reduced

Circumstances already included in the EFC calculation:

  • Multiple children in college
  • Routine household expenses
  • Federal and state taxes paid
  • Routine vehicle and travel expenses


To request special circumstances and dependency appeal paperwork contact Marquette Central at 414-288-4000, you will need the student’s MUID and MCAN when you call.  

  • Have estimates regarding what the reduced income is or how much the expense is when you call 
  • We will use your estimate to run simulated changes on the FAFSA to see if it may adjust the award.  
  • If there is a potential change to the award we will request additional documents. 
  • Complete all forms and submit with all supporting information requested and a typed and hand signed statement explaining the situation.  
  • Completed documents can be uploaded through Document Upload in CheckMarq 
  • If we need additional information we will reach out to the student.  
  • After the review is completed any possible updates to the award will be made. The student will receive a Financial Aid Notification (FAN) message in their eMarq (student email) account. This email will direct them to view their award in CheckMarq. For newly admitted students, a new paper award will not be mailed, you must view the updates in CheckMarq. 
  • Please allow a minimum of 3 weeks to complete the appeal. Processing times may be longer during certain times of the school year. If you are an admitted student who would like an appeal processed prior to the Admissions deposit deadline you should allow at least 4 weeks for processing.  


Verification is required for all students requesting special circumstances. If verification has not already been completed, verification documents will be included with the Special Circumstance documents emailed to you 


Allow a minimum of 3 weeks for the appeal process to be completed once all documentation is received, during certain times of the year processing may take longer. If you are submitting a special circumstance appeal for the current school year your documents must be received a minimum of 3 weeks before the end or the semester. Admitted student who would like an appeal processed prior to the Admissions deposit deadline should submit documents at least 4 weeks in advance. 

We will not process a special circumstance appeal until after the initial award offer has gone out.